Businessman Peter George

Peter George Jr, the owner of Trent Restaurants Ltd, describes the Government’s latest move to lift some of the restrictions on in-house dining as a “positive step.”

In an address at the Diplomatic Centre on Saturday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley indicated that in-house dining can resume, but at a 50 per cent capacity and no alcohol is to be served. He also said that no more than ten people can sit together.

“I understand what the Government is dealing with. I think it is a positive step. We had to get the show back on the road and this is a baby step in doing that,” George said.

He estimated that 30 to 40 per cent of the revenue of a restaurant comes from the selling of wine and other types of alcohol, so not allowing alcohol to be sold is still a big setback.

“I don’t quite understand the inability to serve alcohol. If you can’t have a glass of wine, I don’t understand how that moves the needle. How does not having a glass of wine help in what they set out to achieve?”

The Prime Minister also said that food can be served at cinemas, but masks must be put back on after eating.

Derek Chin, owner of the MovieTowne chain, said allowing food to be eaten in movie theatres is a step in the right direction and they should be able to resume selling food by next Wednesday.

The T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce in a media release said it has noted the actions taken by the Government, but they had hoped for more restrictions to be lifted.

The chamber said it was a challenging financial environment for many businesses, and they are hoping that the Government will target the appropriate financial support for those tax-compliant businesses which can show the debilitating impact this is having on them.

The chamber also recommended the creation of a compliance unit to ensure the strictest adherence and enforcement of the protocols.

Bar owners disappointed

Terron Mohan, president, Bar owners, and Operators Association said he was “disappointed’ that the Government has again refused to lift restrictions on bars.

“We firmly believe after our many months of hard work and preparation that the right choice was not made. It goes to show how far behind we are.”